It’s 4:30 a.m. Monday morning in Delhi right now. That’s where I’ll be in less than 24 hours.
India. Tomorrow. For three and a half months.
I keep telling myself that and still, I can hardly believe it. Really, I can’t. My conception of the South Asian subcontinent is limited to the Indian breakfasts my mom makes every Sunday morning, some Google research and a couple of scenes from A Little Princess.
(I kid. But srsly.)
For one of my classes, I’ve been asked to come up with a list of assumptions and expectations I have about Indian culture, people and my study abroad experience in general. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
  1. Allergens everywhere: dust, dirt, monkey/camel/cow/elephant/people dander.
  2. Whether I gain or lose 10lbs will depend on how successfully I resist one of two things: a.) chapatis’ fried, greasy, straight-to-your-thighs goodness b.) cold, uncooked, swarming-with-shigella fruits and yogurt (my dietary staples).
  3. Microbes also everywhere, especially the vomit and fever inducing kind. Bring on the hand sanitizer.
  4. I’ve been told the goats in India like to bite.
  5. And that northern India has a “monkey problem.”
  6. And that locals will stare at me because I’m foreign, Western (= $$$) and a woman.
  7. Roadside and market vendors will be pushy. I’ll steer clear from the street food, but I’ll give in to the textiles. And I’ll probably get ripped off.
  8. Pedestrians do not have the right of way.
  9. At the end of the semester, I’ll leave India in some intrinsically vague and beautiful way “a better person.” Braver. Wiser. More grown up.
  10. I’ll also know how to “squat.”

It’s going to be one helluva semester. See you December 13th.

Published by deannapan

I'm a journalist who specializes in education, race and social justice reporting.

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  1. I can’t wait to read your every day adventures to aunt Elisa . She is looking forward to your travel stories.

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